A war of flags has taken over Barcelona’s balconies with both pro and anti-independence supporters using their outside spaces to make clear where they stand on Catalonia’s secession debate.
Pro-independence flags, Spanish flags, Catalan flags, banners for the release of the so-called political prisoners and yellow ribbons all adorn the city’s balconies.
Now, landlords and building owners are increasingly stopping their tenants from displaying political signage on buildings.
Josep María Aguilá, a property administrator and lawyer, told Euronews: “The façade of the building belongs to the community of owners, and therefore only the community of owners can decide what to do with it.
“So homeowners, after months or even years, having to suffer a number of external elements hanging from their façades, are now asking the administrators to make arrangements for these elements to be removed.”
Aguilá went on to say: “If you, for example, are wearing a flag on the streets, you can do it and nobody can tell you anything. It is your freedom to wear it because it’s you wearing it, but when you put a flag on a façade, that belongs to a community of neighbours, then your freedom is invading my freedom.”
A recent survey showed Catalan people are virtually split down the middle between those who support independence and those who want to remain part of Spain, but 70% of them agree is now time for some sort of mutual understanding when it comes to the political signs.
Carmen Surís, a local resident in Barcelona, told Euronews: “I think we are all tired of the war of flags. We shouldn’t show off any external signage.”
But Mila Lopez, a Barcelona resident, thinks the issue runs deeper than that: “I think this is going in the same direction.
“I don’t mean in Catalonia, but in Spain, they are forbidding and suppressing more and more civil rights.
“We have less and less freedom, so I am going to keep my flag on my balcony, a separatist flag of course.”
Marcos Benarié, another resident, said some neighbourhoods experienced tensions over the flags: “In my building, there’s the case of a neighbour who has pro-independence flags and he doesn’t want to remove them.
“And there is some tension as some people want to display a Spanish flag. They won’t do it because that would mean ending up engaging in conflict.”
Reports suggest almost half the new lease contracts signed in Barcelona are restricting tenants from displaying flags on their balconies.
The war of flags has also reached the balconies and façades of public buildings like the Regional Government of Catalonia.
The electoral commission has requested that the Catalan premier remove all signage ahead of the upcoming general elections in Spain.
Watch Good Morning Europe’s report in the player above.